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THIS ESSAY IS A LIE

The timeline vertex that has probably already happened

“What is time?” — via ScienceAlert

By Jacobo Rodriguez Solana / Apr. 16, 2021

Time travel is commonly used in pieces of popular culture, and is revered as one of the most interesting, and hard to explain topics on the internet. We will cover some examples of these paradoxes, and try to explain these topics that may cloud our minds.

The first example is the grandfather paradox, this paradox is present in the movie Back to the Future when our protagonist,  Marty Mcfly, goes back in time in order to prevent his parents from marrying.

In the original timeline, Lorraine married George Mcfly because he got hit by a car, so Lorraine nursed him until the two fell in love, and consequently married.

In the movie, Marty saves his dad from being hit by the car, instead, Marty is struck, and as a result takes his dad’s place in the story.

Marty tries to do everything in his power in order to make his parents fall in love again, and save his own existence.  

This is known as the grandfather paradox, it may sound silly at first, but it makes sense over time. Does the timeline that you live in snaps and merges into a new one? Or did you change the course of history forever?

Are you the original?

In the TV show Wanda Vision, it is explained that an alternate Vision, an immediate antagonist, is there to destroy the original. Our protagonist makes the thought experiment about the Ship of Theseus, he states that “The ship of Theseus is an artifact in a museum, once the wood of the ship rots, it is replaced with new wood, when no original plank remains, is it still the original Ship of Theseus? Secondly, if those new planks are restored and reassembled free of the rot, is that the Ship of Theseus?” 

The two agree that neither of those is the true Ship of Thesius, and both of them are original at the same time, in their own way.

This begs the question, what makes something original? Is it the material an object is made out of? Or, is it the memories and context stored in those? 

“How the universe could have more dimensions” — via Space.com

Bootstrap up

The Bootstrap Paradox has seen representation in a lot of works in the media, ranging from films like Terminator, Tenet, and Looper, to some TV shows like Dark.

It implies that a piece of information is sent back in time, and becomes trapped within an infinite cause-effect loop; the end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end, but with seemingly no way to escape.    

In the latest Cristopher Nolan movie, the Bootstrap paradox plays a major role in the movie, it being the driving force that is needed to fully understand the events that happened, as a form of time travel is present in the movie. Our protagonist in the future sets up Tenet to use the information that he knows, living through the events of the film.

One event seems to cause another, but that event has already happened, you could, for example, see yourself in the womb of your mom, but the thing is that you were already conceived.   

The protagonist enlists Neil to go back into the time stream and affect the events with the now acquired knowledge of the incidents. This is why he knows that the protagonist really prefers a Diet Coke over consuming alcohol.

This begs the question of, how do we know that we are not just reliving things that have already happened? How do we know that, every day that we wake up, we are not just stuck in a causal loop of our own?

“Are you stuck in a time-loop? ” — via Karen Turpin

If we are, we will never know, and although we can remember the past, we can’t remember the future, so we will never know if an event that is about to happen has already happened.

Deja vu puts us pretty close though, literally translated into “already seen”. Deja vu is defined as the feeling that you have experienced the present situation before, but what if Deja vu isn’t just a feeling, what if we are reliving the present again, and again, but we cannot remember things as a whole because our brain may not be strong enough to store all that data.

An undead cat

If a tree falls in the forest, but there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? You can make assumptions, but you can never be certain. This paradox is called “Schrodinger’s cat” and the way it was originally phrased is a lot grimmer.

Basically, you put a cat in a box alongside poisonous gas, and a radioactive atom that has a 50% chance of decaying within the next hour. If the atom decays completely, the gas is released, killing the cat.

The radioactive decay is completely random, so no one can surely tell what happened: what is the state of the cat before Schrodinger opens the box? Is it dead, or is it alive? Essentially Schrodinger states that until the box is opened, the cat is to be referred to as both alive, and dead at the same time, existing in a blurred reality. It’s only until Schrodinger observes it, that it merges into a single reality, so, who knows, maybe the other possibility happens in a parallel universe.

Until the box is opened, neither outcome can be certain.

 “The balck hole information paradox comes to an end ” — via Quanta Magazine

Lets conclude with the Meno paradox. It was stated by Socrates and it tries to reflect on a question “We never learn anything new by asking questions, we only learn answers that already exist… A man cannot search either for what he knows or for what he does not know. He cannot search for what he knows since he knows it, thus there is no need to search. Nor for what he does not know, for he does not know what to look for”

Then, is everything truly real? I’ll let you decide on that. 

 References:

Nicholson, T. (2020, 1 septiembre). What Does The Grandfather Paradox Explain About «Tenet»? Esquire. https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/a33858195/tenet-grandfather-paradox/

Mark Cohen, S. (2016, 22 septiembre). Menos Paradox. Faculty of Washington. https://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/menopar.htm

Schrödinger, E. (1983). THE PRESENT SITUATION IN QUANQUANTUM MECHANICS: A TRANSLATION OF SCHRÖDINGER’S «CAT PARADOX PAPER». Materias.uba. http://materias.df.uba.ar/f4Aa2012c2/files/2012/08/Schrod_cat.pdf

WhatsApp Videos Gallery. (21–03-03). The Ship of Theseus : Thought Experiment | Who is the True Vision | WandaVision | White Vision [Vídeo]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFLdaD4us5I

Movieclips Classic Trailers. (2013, 16 noviembre). Back To The Future (1985) Theatrical Trailer – Michael J. Fox Movie HD [Vídeo]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvsgGtivCgs

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